Monday, May 9, 2011

My Monster

I remember the first time I met my monster.  I was sitting on the bed in my dorm room, my back against the cool, concrete wall.  My horrible roommate was blessedly absent.  I was trying to watch something on TV, but couldn't.

I couldn't see the TV through the spots darting in front of my eyes.
Acid was slowing climbing, burning in my chest.
The room was spinning.  No, I was spinning.  Spinning backwards, into blackness.

I was hungry.  On my desk, to the right, sat four celery sticks.  They stared at me, mocking me, daring me to eat them.  But I couldn't.  I took another sip of plain, hot water instead, willing my stomach to feel full.

I ran my hand through my hair, as I tried to stop the spinning.  When my hand came away, my hair came with it.  I was exhausted, but unable to sleep. 

I was hungry, but unable to eat.  I got up to go for another workout.  My second that day.  I pulled on my workout clothes, ignoring the bruises on my arms and legs, and started outside.  If I was running, I wouldn't be hungry.  If I was running, the spinning would stop.

I looked in the mirror at that moment and saw for the first time the strange, otherworldly look in my sunken eyes.  Those eyes, with their crazy determination, were not my own.  I was lost in myself.  I sat back down on my bed and called a friend.  I needed to eat.  I needed help to eat.

I never want to be in that dark place again in my life.  That was a true low point for me, the lowest I have ever been.  I never want to feel so dizzy and out of control.  I never want to ask for help to eat.  I am afraid of the monster I saw at the gym on Thursday.

But I'm even more afraid of giving up on myself, after I have come so far over the past five months.  I am just starting to get my body back from a monster almost as evil as the one who starved me - the monster who would have me give up my life to instead lay on a couch and eat myself into oblivion.  I mentioned last week that I walk a fine line.  I struggle to find balance between obsession and apathy.  I was terrified of what I saw at the gym on Thursday, but I went back to the gym on Friday.  And I'll go again tomorrow.  And I'll conquer that monster while I continue to create a healthy life for myself - and my daughter.  If I can keep the monster back, perhaps Laura will never have to meet it.